Study sug­gests statins linked to lower de­men­tia risk

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -


Some choles­terol-low­er­ing drugs, known as statins, ap­pear to be linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease in cer­tain peo­ple, sug­gested a study out Mon­day. How­ever, not all pa­tients ben­e­fited, and the re­port stopped short of es­tab­lish­ing any cause and ef­fect, so ex­perts said rig­or­ous clin­i­cal tri­als are needed to fur­ther ex­plore the is­sue.

The re­search in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (JAMA) Neu­rol­ogy was based on an anal­y­sis of the med­i­cal records of nearly 400,000 peo­ple in the United States. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Los Angeles ex­am­ined use of the four most com­monly pre­scribed statins: sim­vas­tatin, ator­vas­tatin, pravas­tatin and ro­su­vas­tatin.

Black men saw no lower risk in Alzheimer’s dis­ease as­so­ci­ated with any statin. But other racial and eth­nic groups did, par­tic­u­larly if they were tak­ing sim­vas­tatin, which was as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s for white, His­panic and black women, and white and His­panic men.

Ator­vas­tatin was as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s among white, black, and His­panic women and His­panic men. Both pravas­tatin and ro­su­vas­tatin were as­so­ci­ated with re­duced Alzheimer’s risk for white women.

Across the board, women saw a 15 per­cent lower risk of Alzheimer’s if they took statins, and men saw a 12 per­cent re­duced risk. “This sug­gests that cer­tain pa­tients, fac­ing mul­ti­ple, other­wise equal statin al­ter­na­tives for hy­per­lipi­demia treat­ment, may re­duce Alzheimer’s dis­ease risk by us­ing a par­tic­u­lar statin,” said the study.

Rosa San­cho, head of re­search at Alzheimer’s Re­search UK, urged cau­tion in in­ter­pret­ing the re­sults. “Al­though this study high­lights a link be­tween statin use and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, we can’t say from this re­search that statins can pre­vent the dis­ease,” said San­cho, who was not in­volved in the study. “Un­til there is firm ev­i­dence from clin­i­cal tri­als, we would not rec­om­mend peo­ple take statins for the pur­pose of pre­vent­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease.”

High choles­terol is al­ready a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. And some pre­vi­ous stud­ies have sug­gested statins may have a pro­tec­tive ef­fect against Alzheimer’s dis­ease, the most com­mon form of de­men­tia. “But these stud­ies have pro­duced mixed find­ings,” said Doug Brown, di­rec­tor of re­search and devel­op­ment at the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety. “This new study goes some way to­wards clear­ing up this con­fu­sion by an­a­lyz­ing large amounts of ex­ist­ing data of peo­ple who use dif­fer­ent types of statins over a long pe­riod of time,” he added.

“How­ever, their data does not pro­vide di­rect ev­i­dence that statins can in­flu­ence de­men­tia risk. This ques­tion will need to be an­swered by clin­i­cal tri­als.” —AFP

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